Asian shoppers prefer local bank brands

05 September 2011

HONG KONG: Consumers across Asia are becoming less loyal to banking brands and typically prefer to deal with local providers, according to a new study.

McKinsey, the consultancy, surveyed 20,000 adults in 13 markets including fast-growth economies like China, India and Indonesia, alongside more mature markets such as Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

When asked to assess loyalty levels, the average score decreased by 11 percentage points between 2007 and 2011, with the proportion of contributors that would recommend their bank falling from 57% to 47% in China.

The Philippines posted the highest rating on this metric, logging 72%, slightly ahead of Thailand on 71%, but figures tumbled to only 13% in Japan.

A consequence of this trend was that the number of banking relationships has increased from 2.7 in 2007 to 3.3 in 2011, standing at 3.6 and 4.7 respectively for mass affluent participants in developed nations.

Despite this, the share of respondents said they wish to consolidate their banking relationships with just one provider rose from 41% to 58% in China, and from 47% to 53% in Hong Kong.

Elsewhere, 81% of the entire panel thought it was important to deal with a local institution, an amount which dipped to 63% in the developed markets featured.

More specifically, scores on this measure in China had grown from 75% in 2007 to 87% in 2011, versus 55% and 76% for Hong Kong, and totals reaching 75% and 95% concerning India.

"We speculate that these changes reflect Asian consumers' anxiety over the safety of foreign banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis," McKinsey said.

"So multinationals face a clear challenge in repositioning their brands: they will need to invest in much deeper localisation of products, services, and the overall customer experience."

Shoppers are also now taking a multichannel approach, as branch visits declined by an average of 27% across Asia from 2007 to 2011, when the use of telephones, online and mobile banking climbed from 2.4 to 3.2 times per month.

Similarly, the typical customer now carries out research using five digital and offline channels, and uses 1.8 channels to maintain their account and other relevant services, McKinsey found.

Data sourced from McKinsey; additional content by Warc staff